#2. Jeff Lynn
You might not immediately recognize the name Jeff Lynn, but you've easily heard many of his songs many, many times. As far as melody and arrangements, he rivals some of the greatest and most successful songwriters of all time like Lennon and McCartney and the Bee Gees. And actually, he is one of the greatest and most successful songwriters of all time. For the uninitiated, Jeff Lynn was the lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist for 70s pop/rock powerhouse Electric Light Orchestra ("ELO"). ELO had numerous rock classic staples like" Evil Woman," "Sweet Talkin' Woman," "Turn to Stone," and the happiest song ever written Mr. Blue Sky
Before his death, John Lennon was quoted as saying (in a complimentary fashion) that if The Beatles had kept making music they probably would have sounded a lot like ELO. Arguably, ELO's success should have been enough to put Jeff in the Hall, but just in case there was any doubt, he spent the rest of his career producing and writing some huge highlights in pop rock.
And even in his 60s, he's got a great fro. Come on!
Continuing The Beatles connection, he produced and cowrote George Harrison's comeback album, the wildly successfully, Cloud Nine. Then he and George started the Traveling Wilburys and he produced those albums too, making friends with Tom Petty. Then do you know what he did? He produced Tom Petty's Full Moon Fever -- one of the biggest albums of the 90s. He co-wrote some of the songs too. Which ones? Oh, only the good ones like "Free Fallin,"" Running Down a Dream," "Won't Back Down," and "Face in the Crowd." Oh, by the way, he's also a criminally underrated singer too.
When the partially reformed Beatles needed a producer in 1995 to help arrange, smooth out, and integrate new McCartney material with an old John Lennon demo for Free as a Bird, they turned to Jeff Lynne. Yep, Jeff Lynn is such a shining example of someone who assumed the Beatles mantle, he clearly had no chance at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
#1. Kate Bush
There are two kinds of people in this world: Kate Bush fans and people who are wrong. Most people in England are now saying "amen" (while eating crumpets and driving on the wrong side of the road) but many Americans are probably saying "who?" (while they drink Bud Light and beat up homosexuals). Yes, apparently, my column is only read by cultural stereotypes.
For some, Kate Bush might be known only as the singer of "Running up that Hill" or the chick Peter Gabriel duets with on Don't Give Up or maybe the one singing the best part of the underrated 80s movie She's Having A Baby. And yeah, those are all great things, but no, that does not sum up Kate Bush or explain while she's not in the Hall despite being the most talented woman of popular music for the last fifty years, having written and produced three of the greatest albums in pop/rock history, worthy of comparison with Sgt. Pepper, Ziggy Stardust, Tommy, and Dark Side of the Moon.
Kate Bush was discovered on the strenght of some demos she recorded when she was 15. Yeah, 15. Just like those miserable girls on YouTube except she didn't suck, and the one who discovered her wasn't some pedo over-complimenting her in the comments, but Pink Floyd's David Gilmour. She was put under contract to just sit and write songs for EMI. At 18 she released her first album containing a smash UK hit "Wuthering Heights" -- later covered by Pat Benetar.
Her first three albums contained some interesting work, but you can feel the weight of producers pushing her somewhat uncomfortably into progressive rock territory where she didn't belong. Accordingly, in 1982, at the ripe old age of 24, she fired all the producers and produced her own album The Dreaming on an 8 track. It was no Liz Phair lo-fi Exile in Guyville affair. It is a sonic masterpiece that sounds unlike anything ever recorded. Pure unadulterated Kate that will blow your doors off. Listen to a song like Suspended in Gaffa from 1982 and hear the template for Tori Amos's entire subsequent career.
As a follow up, she released the completely different Hounds of Love, featuring her biggest American hits and being a forerunner to the programming and keyboard produced pop that would soon follow. In 1989, she completed the perfect album trifecta with The Sensual World, a somber cohesive collection of beautifully crafted songs that burn perfect and slow.
There's a reason she's revered by everyone from punk rockers like Johnny Lydon of the Sex Pistols to wuss rockers like Coldplay to rappers like Big Boi of Outkast: She is an original, driven to write perfect songs contained on cohesive albums, each different from the last. Just like The Beatles. No wonder the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame hates her.
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